Windfall is eerie, from the yellow filter and ominous soundtrack floating through its entirety to the offbeat comedic timing that creates just enough disjointedness to truly sell the intense absurdity of the situation. Lilly Collins and Jesse Plemons are husband and wife who clash with Jason Segel, an intruder in their vacation home. None of the characters are named – as a matter of fact, the film is stripped of any outlying information. All the audience is provided with are the essentials. This creates a sense of detachment from the story, which neutralises any sense of empathy. While in any other film this would be detrimental to the plot’s appeal, in this case it’s very much a stylistic choice. Whether or not it’s the right choice is very hard to discern, but it does call back to Segel’s line, “I don’t give a fuck”.
It’s a very slow build, with lots of pacing and waiting around. Structure-wise it’s simple; everything takes place within one setting. The concept of a group of people stuck in one place and forced into a specific situation wherein they have to deal with their problems and issues is very common. But there are unique techniques used to emphasise this kind of suffocation. For example, there’s the symmetry of doors, allowing for some clever use of cinematography such as only being able to see through the glass and creating separation between different rooms and sets. This is further reinforced by having three main characters, two of which are men, with Collins’ character constantly positioned between the two. The combination of these factors heavily foreshadows the events of the last act.
Overall, the absurdity of everyone’s actions is the most powerful weapon of this picture. It’s the main source of entertainment in something so devoid of real action or heart. There are moments of self-awareness in the script, before it’s all undermined by lines like, “Try being a rich white guy these days,” and production choices such as killing off the only minority character who was just trying to help. While problematic in a sense, it further highlights how incredulous the series of events are, and what horrible people the main characters are. Perhaps that is the whole point of the film, and exactly why there isn’t supposed to be any attachment to any of them at all.
Windfall is released on Netflix on 18th March 2022.
Watch the trailer for Windfall here: